It is estimated that electric car sales in the UK will double in 2013 due to the availability of more affordable models and the increase in charging points. Managing director of website nextgreencar.com, Ben Lane, estimated that there will likely be an increase from around 3000 to 6,000. However, he did admit that the adoption of fully electric vehicles is still progressing quite slowly.
This he blamed on the fact that prices are still relatively high and that such vehicles are still not up to par in terms of range. He said, “Very few people in 2012 were willing to pay a significant sum more for a car that still cannot do everything.”
Also, majority of electric cars in the UK consist of company fleets and this trend is expected to increase as more and more companies begin to take their social responsibility more seriously and take the lead in reducing carbon emission.
One of these affordable cars is the Renault Zoe which costs considerably less than other cars in the range at £13,650, and also comes with the option of renting a battery from the manufacturer at a cost of £70 each month. Lane described this trend as “a step in the right direction” while increasingly cheaper cars will also arrive in the market, such as the Nissan Leaf.
The number of charging stations is also increasing in the UK, estimated to go up to about 1,300 from around 900 next year. Transport of London reports that owners of electric cars in London and the east England area are entitled to using these charging stations, though presently, when a car is not from a particular zone, they cannot be charged there.
Despite the fact that the government is subsidizing each purchase of an electric vehicle by £5,000, they still remain expensive. Prices are further reduced by leasing older model on a long-term deal. Lane explained that, “Companies will not advertise low prices, but it could be possible to get an electric car for as little as £150 per month on a long-term lease. They will be keen to get older cars off their hands as new ones arrive on the market, so it will be possible to drive a hard bargain.”
Further, according to Lane, the image of the electric car is going to change. They will thus become more stylish such as the BMW i3 and its upcoming larger version the i8.
Tesla, the American manufacturer, has also introduced saloon cars which are capable of going up to 300 miles after a full charge. These will be released in the UK at a price range of £36,000 and £50,000.
Installer of home charging stations, BritishGas, has also identified Glasgow, London, Surrey, Brighton and Epsom as the likely areas for an increase in electric car sales.
After setting aside £400m to help in adopting low-emission vehicles, the government’s Department of Transport has stated that electric vehicles represent the main focus in the fight for low carbon emissions and as such is determined to put up the infrastructure to ensure their continued adoption.
“We have also been extremely encouraged by the emergence of the private sector in rolling out infrastructure and estimate that around 5,000 charging points have been installed nationwide by such organisations.”